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We will give our all for the Erne cause, vows Gallagher

 

By Declan Bogue

Fermanagh selector Ronan Gallagher admits the new county management team are under pressure as they gear up for the 2018 season.

As players, Ronan, his brother and Ernesiders manager Rory Gallagher and fellow selector Shane McCabe had chequered careers and had history with previous management teams when they felt the environment was not geared towards success, leaving them out in the cold at various stages.

And now that they have taken over the reins at Fermanagh, following on from Pete McGrath, Ronan recognises the pressure that comes as part of the job.

"There is no question of it. Over my time in Fermanagh, I would have had many, many disagreements and fallouts with both managers and players. As I have said before, I never really regret any issues I had with management," he stated.

"(But) I don't see it that way to be honest. I think I am in there and the rest are in there to give 100% and make as many right decisions as possible.

"Of all the managers, the ones I would have got on with and the ones that I didn't get on with, they were probably doing it to the best of their ability and they would have felt it was genuine even though I might have disagreed with it.

"There's going to be knockers out there. There may be players out there that would disagree with my opinion over the years and they might say, 'Let's see what this management team can do'.

"And that's all part and parcel of it. The one thing I would say is that through the good times and bad, Fermanagh have always been fantastically well supported.

"People always back you. There will be people waiting to see how you get on, but that is none of our concern really. Our concern is to give 100%."

The Erne players will also come under the microscope to a certain degree after they effectively downed tools when they learned that McGrath wished to continue for a fifth season after a rotten 2017, before he performed a U-turn.

Gallagher maintains a level of sympathy for the former set-up's plight.

"I have been there myself in their situation and it is not nice for anybody concerned," he explained.

"It is what it is. I think the pressure for everybody really is that there is a group of players there that have been about. They have a solid foundation from Peter Canavan and Pete McGrath's time because there was a lot right in those set-ups.

"They are at a stage now that no matter who was managing or running the team, it is up to them to say, 'Right, what can we bring to the table for the next eight or 10 months and how can we push ourselves to the situation where we win or lose?'

"I think that's the biggest pressure really. I don't think it is all about what went on before the appointment of Rory really."

The other high-profile appointment on the management ticket, and one that carries no baggage with the county, is three-time All-Ireland winner with Tyrone, Ryan McMenamin.

Freed up from his commitments in managing St Macartan's to their first Ladies' Ulster Club Championship, Gallagher has been impressed with the Dromore man so far.

"It's early days to be judging his influence but the conversations that I have had with him, the small bit of coaching he has been doing, when he says it, you know he has been there," Gallagher said.

"He's been there at the highest, highest level and he was the player that everybody wanted on their team.

"He can relate to the defenders and so on but even from a wider point of view to the group, things that are the acceptable or unacceptable way of doing things."

The Gallagher brothers have their own All-Ireland medals as crucial components of the St Gall's team that captured the 2010 All-Ireland Club title. Rory also has one as Donegal selector in 2012 under Jim McGuinness, but Ronan insists that they are not merely seeking to import the Donegal experience to their native county.

"I think when you are into football, you are thinking about it all the time. It is not much different to what Donegal would have been at," he maintained.

"Probably the management team are doing it the right way as we see it, as opposed to what has gone on before. Yes, you use your experience to harness your thinking and so on, but I think the best coaches, when they draw on their experience, they do what they believe in, their philosophy, and do whatever they feel is best."

Belfast Telegraph

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